LOTTERY funding of just over £628,000 has been awarded to the trust behind an historic house and gardens to help them bring it into community ownership.

The Scottish Land Fund, which is backed by the Big Lottery and Scottish Government, today announced the award to Cockenzie House and Gardens.

The trustees of the historic house, who have worked to turn it into a hub of local business and charity workshops and studios over the last four years, welcomed the award which they said funds 95 per cent of the amount needed to buy the house and land, as well as establishing a development fund for the next two years.

Marietta di Ciacca, trustee, said, “We are extremely excited by this award. The prospect of community ownership means so much and allows us to now fully invest in our services and our commitment to the community of Cockenzie & Port Seton.”

East Lothian Provost John McMillan welcomed the news.

He said: “Cockenzie House and Gardens is increasingly becoming a real hub of the community – attracting locals and visitors alike from further afield. This announcement is a reflection of the vision and hard work of the many people who work so hard to make Cockenzie House such a wonderful place to visit and spend time. Clearly there is still a lot of work to do but I'm sure those involved will take great encouragement from this news."